Compared to years past, this was a rebuilding year for the fringe. Most of the major figures on the fringe sat the year out, preparing for bigger things in 2019 and beyond, and those that were active either failed to produce their promised results, delivered results that failed to meet expectations, or spent their time teasing revelations yet to come in 2019, or whenever they need a cash infusion. There was no major fringe history bestseller this year, and the wannabes in the category came from small presses and consequently received little or no media attention outside dedicated fringe sites. The new fringe pseudo-documentaries that made it to air either muddled through their middling runs or failed outright. The reason for the decline in the fringe was easy enough to see: The fringe had gone mainstream in 2017, and the continued presence of conspiracy theorists and fringe thinkers in the upper ranks of the Republican Party and the Trump Administration lessened the demand for pseudo-history. These sorts of claims tend to be more popular as counterprogramming.
While I am preparing my Year in Review post for tomorrow, I wanted to briefly note that on Scott Wolter's blog this week, Donald Ruh, the author of The Scrolls of Onteora, and an interested party in the story of the supposed Templar documents used on The Curse of Oak Island in 2016 and in the late Zena Halpern's book The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond in 2017, confirmed that the hand-drawn French-language map depicting Oak Island and said to be a copy of one used by the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages is a fake. The map was part of a collection of documents compiled by a man named William Jackson before his death and 2000, and Ruh believes that Jackson was involved in some cloak and dagger secret intelligence work surrounding the documents, including a scandal in Italy involving crimes committed by Propaganda Due, or P2, a Masonic lodge that had been stripped of its charter and became a right-wing secret society with ties to members of the elite and a penchant for murder. "The Oak Island map is a fabrication, most likely created by Bill Jackson as part of an assignment by the agency Dr. Jackson worked for to intentionally set up a bad guy associated with the P2 scandal in the late 1970’s," Ruh wrote. I would need to see more proof to buy the claims about secret intelligence work (and i am not sure why Jackson's letter about it, reproduced in Ruh's blog post, looks to have been professionally or electronically typeset, despite allegedly being a personal letter from 1979), but I have no doubt that Ruh is correct that the map is a modern forgery. The most interesting part of Ruh's post, however, is not his dubious spy claims about the imaginary Spartan Agency, but rather the fact that he and Halpern fell out not over evidence or interpretation but over how best to exploit their claims in order to land the best TV deal. That is the true treasure of Oak Island.
Scott Wolter: Masonic Expert Says "Sinclair Journals" Not Consistent with the Latin and English of Their Alleged Time Period
The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt
Randall Sullivan | 410 pages | Atlantic Monthly Press | December 2018 | ISBN: 978-0-8021-2693-1 | $27.00
Sometime during the course of the twentieth century, Canada’s Oak Island, located off the coast of Nova Scotia, became the locus of an industry of conspiracy theorists, treasure-hunters, and historical speculators who sought to probe its supposed mysteries in the name of a bewildering array of pretended adventurers to the island. These have included pirates, Inca, Romans, Vikings, Israelites, and of course Knights Templar. For more than two centuries men have dug holes in the ground trying to prove that Oak Island conceals some fabulous treasure of myriad faces, everything from Spanish gold to Shakespeare’s lost plays to the Ark of the Covenant. All of these adventurers have had one thing in common: failure. The only real treasure ever recovered from Oak Island was the advertising revenue generated by the History Channel series The Curse of Oak Island (2014-present), which is looking to pad its profits with the volume under consideration here, from the pen of journalist Randall Sullivan, formerly OWN-TV’s “Miracle Detective,” and recently a Curse of Oak Island guest who promoted a mega-conspiracy (originated by David Childress, synthesizing earlier claims), that Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays and that the proof is hidden on Oak Island along with the Jewish Temple treasure and the secrets of alchemy.
The Mutual Reinforcement of Dubious Templar Documents; Plus: Travel Channel Teases Megan Fox's "Legends of the Lost"
Today I present the book description for a new self-published volume, unread by me, that bills itself as the first in a ten-volume (!) collection of the alleged journals of Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, the medieval Norse-Scottish prince who gained fame when a German from a Scottish expatriate family identified him as the fictitious Prince Zichmni from the sixteenth century hoax Zeno manuscript, and Richard Henry Major argued that the name was a corruption of “Sinclair” due to bad handwriting. Despite the many problems with the narrative—not least, in reality one of its main characters was in Greece in 1392 and on trial in Venice in 1394 before dying in 1402 while the narrative has him journeying to Greenland in 1393 and dying in 1394—the story has become a touchstone for the alternative history community. Since the late 1800s, a grab-bag of Scottish nationalists, white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and Templar fetishists have raised Henry Sinclair to a demigod (literally—Frederick Pohl declared him the Micmac demigod Glooscap) and imagine him as the founder of a fabulous colony in the Americas a century before Columbus.
In Radio Interview, Scott Wolter Returns to Familiar Themes, Promises New Claims and Evidence at Some Future Date
Recently, former television personality Scott Wolter appeared on the Earth Ancients radio show to discuss the Knights Templar in North America, and the interview started off about as badly as possible when the host, Cliff Dunning, asked Wolter to describe the “earliest” European arrival in the New World, which established that our host is basically trolling for white pride. This becomes clearer when Dunning returns to the question at the end and rephrases “European” into “pre-Native,” suggesting that he sees the first Americans as white. To his credit, Wolter redirected the question to Native American oral traditions, though these are rather fantastical claims about Native American “world elders” who claim to meet with representatives from every continent in the world every eight years, and have for tens of thousands of years. I need not note that there is no evidence of global confabs in Ice Age America—where communication across the continent was already a challenge, let alone globally—but perhaps it is an imaginary version of the more recent “World Elders Forum” of the past few years that brings together indigenous leaders from around the world.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.